So far, I have taken part in 5 Running Hour sessions. During these sessions, everyone is paired up with an intellectually or physically challenged person to either walk, jog or run around the national stadium track or pedestrian path from the national stadium to Marina Barrage. Each time, I have been paired up with a different person, mostly those that have a form of autism.
This is a different experience for me as I have not previously done local service with people before, but mostly with animals. Therefore, this was an unfamiliar environment that I learned to adapt to and in doing so, I developed the social skills necessary to interact with intellectually or physically challenged people. I have also developed friendships with some of them and so I can feel more connected to locals in Singapore with various personal challenges. In the photos below which was taken during the sessions, guides (non-challenged) and those with disabilities are all posing together which shows that the ability to adapt to the new environment to connect within the group.
By talking to those that I was helping, I have also increased my understanding of their situations and how they are affected by their disabilities. For example, I now understand more about their education and how different schools in Singapore are specially adapted to helping the intellectually and physically challenged. I also recognise the ethical issues that they face when finding employment as most of their options are limited to retail and service jobs. This contributes to my understanding of global issues as well since this isn’t only the case in Singapore.
In terms of Running Hour itself, the positive effects of volunteering to help those with disabilities are clear. Not only does this service give them the opportunity to do exercise in a secure environment with people looking out for their safety, but it also gives them the chance to connect with other people who have disabilities and even people who don’t have disabilities. One thing to take into consideration is the mental health of the disabled, especially if topics are brought up during conversation that are particularly sensitive to them. However, I believe that the advantages to them outweigh the possible negative effects.
Throughout this volleyball season, I have developed my volleyball skills greatly through training and game play. These skills not only include volleyball techniques but also collaboration and communication skills within the team.
At the start of this season, my two main goals were to improve my setting technique to increase my accuracy during game play as well as my serving percentage as many of my serves did not land in.
During training, we practiced serving so that we could improve during game play. By taking advice from my coach, particularly about aiming very high above the net, I managed to improve my serving percentage. In the photos above, it can be seen that I am aiming quite high, showing that I have learned from my coach’s advice and applied it in game play.
Although I now have the correct technique, I believe that I can further advance my serving by putting in more power which is now one of my weaknesses that I intend to focus on.
From the video above, it is clear that I have improved on my setting technique and as a result, I am more confident with setting and my accuracy is quite high. Setting is now one of my strengths in volleyball although at the start of the year it was a possible challenge for me.
In the video, communication between the team is clearly evident. In volleyball, collaboration is extremely important. During games, there is a lot of communication to help the other players on the team know what to do. For example, shouting “free” lets the people at the net know to move backwards and be ready to take a ball that is coming over. As can be seen in the photo below, we also say “here” to help our teammates know where to pass the ball.
In addition, collaboration includes motivating team members. For example, we congratulate our teammates when they have a good serve, set, bump, block, tip or hit. This increases the moral of the team and improves play as well. These are therefore valuable contributions to the team.
Collaboration in volleyball isn’t only important during games but also in training. In my team, everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, we can take advice from each other in order to improve our game play. For example, serving is one of my weaknesses; however, one of my teammates is a very good server. She was able to help me improve my technique by giving me tips. I was able to help one of my teammates as well by helping her to understand where she was meant to be positioned during game play.
September 15th 2018. On this day, more than 100 different university and college representatives came to visit UWCSEA Tampines to promote their institutions. This event not only lets students know what individual universities are like, but also serves to represent the UWCSEA community to each university. I volunteered to become an ambassador.
My role as a student ambassador was crucial to the presentation of UWCSEA students. The responsibilities included helping university representatives set up their individual booths and workshops, leading them to their workshop locations, and other ad-hoc duties such as resolving any technical issues efficiently and effectively, while constantly portraying professionalism and the UWCSEA values. During the day, I was required to solve a technical issue where the projection equipment did not have the correct type of adapter for the University of Kent representative’s computer. I needed to use critical thinking and communication skills to work with the other ambassadors to quickly come up with the solution to bring in a different laptop and transfer the presentation.
I was also one of the student ambassadors who registered the university representatives when they came into the school. This was a large responsibility as I would make the first impression of UWCSEA.
Overall, I used communication and critical thinking skills throughout this event to represent UWCSEA and ensure that it ran smoothly and that any issues were resolved with efficiency. I took on a position of responsibility and rose to the task with positivity, resulting in a well-run event.
In this photo I am with one of the other student ambassadors welcoming the university representatives to UWCSEA.
LO2- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
Standing in front of a group to teach them something is always a challenge. A large amount of self-confidence and risk-taking is needed in this type of leadership, no matter whether the group is made of 2 or 20 people.
During the rehearsal of this year’s musical for high school students, Aida, on the 13th of September 2018, I took on the challenge of teaching 12 people in various grades the dance that my friend Georgia and I had choreographed for one of the songs. It was not an entirely new experience for me– last year I taught a group of 8 my choreography for an end result of a performance in the Middle and High School Dance Showcase. However, those were mostly Middle School students. There is an extra difficulty to teaching those older than you or closer to your age. Normally, it takes more assertiveness to let them know why they should pay attention to you, and why they should follow you. This was new to me.
In that rehearsal, I was tasked with becoming more assertive, more self-assured to take on this leadership role. In doing so, I increased my level of confidence in both my abilities as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, as well as a person.
Confidence is extremely important. Put simply, confidence equates to trust and reliability. Self-confidence helps you believe in yourself and gives you the courage to pursue your passions. This was my main takeaway from this rehearsal; it was a key moment in my journey to increase my confidence and become a better person in my own way as a result.
Below are some photos of myself teaching a dance the some of the other students in Aida.
Being involved in a student production also requires a lot of commitment and engagement during rehearsals. Due to the amount of effort that needs to be put in, there are many rehearsals, including weekend rehearsals that require taking out personal time to work towards the performance. Therefore, Aida is a long-term project requiring three seasons of regular commitment.
In a project that is long-term, there will inevitably be challenges along the way. One possible challenge that may appear is the task of balancing rehearsals with school work and other activities. In order to make sure that this does not become a large issue, I will most likely create a plan for splitting my time between everything that I have committed to doing.
Throughout the process, I will also have to adapt to new changes. For example, as a choreographer, I have to take into consideration the level of dance of the cast members. At first, for one of the songs, I realised that the choreography that I had created was too difficult for most of the cast and I therefore had to simplify it.
Additionally, one of the challenges we had to face so far was adapting to the new environment of the exam hall which was had to use since the auditorium was occupied. However, I believe that we were able to adapt well to the environment and were able to have a productive rehearsal.
This workshop had two main parts to it: creating a sentence and using an object to create movement, both of which focused on developing devising ideas.
The first activity was to write down any five words that we thought of, then writing words that we associated with those first words. We then chose three words and created a sentence from these words. I thought that this was particular interesting as the sentences that we formed could act as a stimulus in a performance which was seen later on.
In the second part of the workshop, one group was blindfolded and given a material (elastic string, cardboard, sheets of paper or rolled up paper) to ‘play’ with and explore. Some of the movements and sounds that came from this activity evoked emotions and stories from simply exploring a material. For example, the sound of tearing paper created a sense of distress. The blindfolds helped to block out the fact that people were watching and helped us to focus on the material that we were exploring. One thing that I found interesting was that once the material was taken away, most people did bigger and more exaggerated movements to try to emphasise the idea that there was still material there.
The other group was blindfolded and given material as well but were also told to keep in mind the sentence they had created in the first activity. This created more deliberate movement with much more emotion that was formed from thinking about their sentences. When they started to say their chosen words out loud, I noticed that the intensity of their movement reflected the intensity of their speech. Additionally, from saying their chosen words, it gave the audience context for their movements and produced a clearer storyline portraying certain emotions and feelings.
At the end of the workshop, we formed smaller groups to create a movement sequence with one of the materials of our choice. My group (Emily G and Lydia) and two other groups chose the elastic; however, the sequences were different. This showed how there are many different ways to use the same material. My group started with the elastic in a tangled ball and then we stretched it outwards to unravel it. We then played with pulling on the string and wrapping it around ourselves before letting go so that it bounced back together. We were then told to remove the elastic and we were separated so that Lydia and Emily were together on one side watching me and I was standing away from them, looking at the audience. This created a very different story but still with the main theme from the initial sequence.
I think that the word association to create a stimulus and techniques to finding the different ways to utilise material is something that will be very useful in future devising performances. I can especially use the exploration of the elastic in my collaboration project performance this year as we are planning to use rope which is a similar material.
I first joined Tabitha GC three years ago in Grade 8. Since then, I have taken on the role of Head of Sales and Logistics Manager in the following years as well as taken on other leadership roles within projects. This year, I am looking to increase my responsibility and involvement in Tabitha by being GC Chair. I think this position will help me develop my leadership skills and increase the depth of my experience in service.
I think that I stand a good chance at getting this position as I have been with Tabitha for three years and organised many of their events as well as participated heavily in the team discussions. I have also taken on leadership roles within projects that we have done and I would know how best to engage all the members of the service. Additionally, I am looking for more depth in my commitments so I would definitely be able to take on the extra responsibility. Lastly, for Project Week later on in the year, one of the options that I’m currently looking at is a house building trip to the Tabitha NGO in Cambodia. Being GC Chair would enable me to build a good foundation for my volunteer experience there.
My involvement in the Tabitha GC has allowed me to address global issues and take action to help those in need internationally. I am looking forward to being involved again this year.
As a local service this year, I have joined Running Hour. This is a service that partners with intellectually or visually challenged members to engage in light physical activity and conversation. I am new to this service this year so I am not entirely familiar with the goals of this service. However, my expectations are that I will be able to develop an understanding of how being intellectually or visually challenged affects the lifestyle of individuals in the Singaporean community.
I have not done local service with people before, my only other local service experience was at an animal shelter. I have noted this as an area that I may have been lacking and so one thing that I am looking forward to is participating in a service that clearly impacts the local community in a different way than what I have done previously. I see this as an opportunity for me to grow in my understanding of social issues and develop my skills in interacting with people that I don’t normally interact with. With this, I can also gain insight into global issues as there are many similarities between challenged people in Singapore and overseas.
For the first sports season of the year, I was placed in the U18B Volleyball team. Personally, since I only started volleyball about a year ago, this is a large achievement. I am very much looking forward to improving my volleyball techniques to increase my level of play.
Last year, I was on the U18C Volleyball team playing in a ‘middle’ position. This year, my coach is hoping to move me to a ‘setter’ position which will be a new experience for me. It will most likely be challenging at the start to adjust to a new position however I am excited to expand my skills in this area.
So far, we have had one practice as a team on Friday. This practice helped me to highlight my strengths as a player as well as the areas in which I could improve on, which was especially serving for me. This season, I’m also hoping to improve my communication on court as collaboration is especially important in volleyball. Collaboration comes from forming a good relationship with your team, I am also looking forward to this and forming new friendships within my team.
Sport Ready is a netball academy dedicated to developing netball skills and giving passionate players a chance to compete in competitions around Singapore. This is a club that I have joined outside of school and have been a part of for 1 and a half years now. The year is divided into two seasons with try-outs at the start of each season for team placement. This year, I was put into the first team which competes in an adult league on Monday evenings.
Since the team competes in an adult league, the standard of play is quite high and physically challenging. Receiving a placement in the second team is a good achievement where I can show my strengths in netball. However, there are some areas in which I can improve on. This season I am looking to develop techniques that I can use during game play and increase my spacial awareness on court as well as improve my shooting accuracy. Games against adult teams will inevitably be challenging, which will help me improve as a player and highlights areas of improvement for me.
The commitment to Monday evening games will also be difficult at times as I will have to maintain responsibility in other activities and service in addition to balancing academics. Nevertheless, I am very committed to netball as a sport and will be willing to adapt to any difficulties along the way.
Sonos is a choir activity centred around developing singing skills in a group. I have been in the High School Sonos Activity for the past two years and before that I was in Middle School Sonos.
In joining Sonos in Grade 11, I am hoping to show commitment to this activity since this would be my fourth year. I also believe that although I have learned a lot in previous years, there are still some new singing techniques that I can learn how to use this year to further improve my singing.
Additionally, this year I am looking to volunteer myself for some solo singing positions. In this way, I will be undertaking risks and possible challenges as it would be a new experience for me. With solo positions, I can not only be a risk taker in stepping out in front of a crowd but also improve my singing skills as an individual instead of just within a choir.
Overall, I am looking forward to being a part of this community again and further improving my skills.